Spring garden work beckons

— I know everyone is thinking about next spring, right? Now stop laughing and read on.

Last spring, I had grand ideas of a deer-proof fence, raised beds, a new flower garden and four times as many vegetables as before. Reality was an old fence to remove, fencing supplies to purchase, one out-of-shape person (me) and lots and lots of weeds.

Add in rain, a job and other hobbies, and my ideal garden was not going to happen over a weekend. While some of my plans were accomplished, many were not, so I am going to do some of the routine garden chores now so I can focus on my grand ideas next spring.

I want a long, native flower bed down the inside of one fence in our yard and I have lots of plants in other areas that need to be divided or just plain moved, so this will be a great place for them.

This fall I will prepare the new bed so it is ready to be planted in the spring. In the established beds I will remove every last weed, add chopped leaves and aged manure and then cover it with straw to keep all the nutrients until spring.

I will put in three, four — no, five — new raised beds filled with the perfect soil in just the right spot for vegetables so I can pop the seedlings in as soon as the soil thaws in spring.

I want my compost to be ready to add; all the vines, healthy leaves and annual plants from this year’s garden are going into the compost heap, which will be watered and turned several more times before it freezes.

Once I have the existing garden cleaned up and weed free, the leaves and manure added to the soil and the new beds in place, I will take care of my tools. All wooden handles will be treated with linseed oil, metal will be wiped with a damp rag and covered with light oil after the blades are sharpened and rough spots are sanded.

The lawnmower and trimmer will be cleaned, sharpened and oiled as well.

Everything will be put away in the shed, out of the weather, just waiting for spring, next to the hoses that have been drained, coiled and hung up for the winter. I will clean my pots and hanging baskets with a bleach solution and then put them away next to the tools.

Then I will stand back and enjoy the sight of my perfectly clean, neatly arranged tool shed and dream about next spring.

I know mean old reality will intrude as soon as I get further into October and find that family, friends, hobbies and work are still most important. Some jobs will get done and some will wait until next spring, when the grand ideas get ahead of reality and I find myself in late summer with a long list of things I did not get done, again.

Sara Sly is a master gardener with Washington State University Extension for Ferry County. The program can be reached at 509-775-5225 Ext. 1116, or in the basement of the courthouse, 350 E. Delaware Ave.

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